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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  August 21, 2009 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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overshadowed some good economic news. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke said we're on the cusp of economic growth. does the president deserve credit he's not getting right now? that's in "the politics fix" tonight. finally, i was in the zinger's seat on "the colbert report." let's watch. >> why not documentary about the bushes? they have two presidents, man. >> because i want some ratings. >> that's why i'm having a kennedy documentary next thursday night and not a bush documentary. we'll have more -- just kidding. we'll have more of that on the steve colbert report coming up on "hardball." we'll give you a good look at what happened. we begin tonight with the pushback by former bush administration officials who are sending out word denying that they tried playing politics with those terrorism alerts in order to win re-election for george w. bush in 2004. well, the two men who tom ridge said pressed for an elevated threat level, josh ashcroft and
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donald rumsfeld, they refused to comment themselves but left it to their flacks, if you will, to dispute ridge's version of events. ashcroft's spokesman said this, didn't happen. now would be a good time for mr. trouge use his emergency duct tape. that's pretty snarky. rumsfeld's spokesman implied it was about the selling of books. the story line advanced by his publisher seemingly to sell copies of the book is nonsense t would seem reasonable for senior officials to discuss the threat level. we're not here going over what the so-called story line put out by publishers were quoting directly from ridge's book and we'll continue to do so. we have an advance copy, sir. former bush chief of staff andy card denied the poll littations. we bent over backwards repeatedly and with great discipline to make sure politics did not influence any national security or homeland security decision. that was what card said.
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and he's fairly credible that fellow. the clear instructions were to make sure politics never influenced anything. that's andy card's view. bush's form he homeland security adviser in the white house fran townsend was on the air saying i'm a little mystified. never did i see any political influence exerted on the cabinet secretary. let's bring in pennsylvania governor ed rendell who knows tom ridge quite well. what do you make of this, governor? it seems to me your predecessor in office has come out almost like the whistle-blower in the insider case with the tobacco companies and said, look, here, these quotes are pretty dramatic, governor. they're right from the book. he said when i wonder when i sat in the meetings in the weekend before the election in 2004 whether this was about security or about politics. it seemed possible to me and to others around the table, this is when they're talking about what to do about the security threat, that something could be afoot other than simple concern about the country's safety.
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governor? >> well, first of all, tom -- i have been in politics 33 years, as you know, chris, and tom ridge is as decent and honorable a person that i have met in politics. notwithstanding his being part of a republican party, it amazings me, about you he's a decent and honorable person. he's telling the truth here and it's clear, it is absolutely clear from the time bin laden made his statement, i said back in '04 and i got in trouble for it that bin laden was trying to help bush win the election by raising the specter of terrorism with three days to go. so did the bush people. they wanted to take advantage of this. i have no doubt that attorney general ashcroft and secretary of defense rumsfeld went to tom ridge and said, raise the threat level. tom ridge doesn't lie, never has, never will. number two, this is not a mark mcclellan, this is not someone who wrote a book that attacks the bush administration. if you look at the rest of the book, it's fairly benign when it comes to the bush administration. thirdly, this isn't mark
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mcclellan who after saying all of these bad things continued to remain as an employee of the bush administration. tom ridge left 30 days after this incident supposedly took place. so we have every reason to believe him. i'm sure he's telling the truth. the only reason that they didn't force him to raise the threat level, and by the way as tom said, not only was he against raising the threat level, but there was no one in the department of homeland security, not one person, who agreed that the threat level should be raised because of this. the only reason they didn't raise it was because they thought it might backfire. >> did you ever get this sense as chief executive of pennsylvania when you were getting the word on these alerts, these code yellows, code oranges as they proceeded up the line, did you ever get the sense there was politics behind them? >> not so much politics, chris, but we were mystified because the underlying facts as much as they would divulge to us didn't seem to justify the ups and downs of the threat levels. in fact, we used to on occasion
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joke about it. but i wasn't sure that politics were involved, but i know that bin laden delivered that message because he wanted to influence the election and he wanted to help bush because george bush was the greatest recruiter around the world that al qaeda ever had. >> yeah, you think -- do you think osama bin laden was in league with the republicans in the oddest way in a sense? let me ask you to repeat what you just said. i agree with you, by the way. i think they loved having bush as president. explain why you think so. >> i said this and i got all sorts of grief for it. osama bin laden is a smart guy. we have to grand him that. he knew by saying this three days before the election it would raise the specter of terrorism and he knew that that was bush's strong suit. it was in fact the only arrow bush had left in his quiver at that time and he knew exactly what he was doing. he was trying to help bush because george bush and his policies were the greatest recruiter that al qaeda had. not just in iraq, but all over
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the globe. >> okay. congratulations, governor. i think i'm missing the other half of you. you have lost so much weight. you look so good. you're going to live to be 100. >> mike huckabee. >> i hope you make it to 100. thank you very much governor ed rendell of pennsylvania who is on one of the meanest damn diets i have ever seen in my life. you will look good in ocean city this weekend. let's go to joan walsh of salon and ron reagan of air america radio. let me go to you joan and your thoughts on this. it seems to me you must be somewhat sanguine about reading the other side of the ideological argument has been caught with an insider blowing the whistle as loud as i can imagine the secretary of homeland security himself is saying that in the interests of politics, the people around the table the weekend before the 2004 election were playing politics to get their guy re-elected so they could keep their jobs. >> it's completely believable, and liberals are saying it that
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summer and they were laughed at, they were mocked. he also admits that they raised the threat level and talked about the great presidency of george bush right after john kerry accepted the nomination in boston that year. so they really did orchestrate -- they used terror to scare people. they used terror to diminish kerry. i remember john kerry had to come out and smack howard dean, who was telling the truth about this that they were politicizing the terror warnings, because he didn't want to be seen as some kind of left wing lunatic. this is what they did all along, going back to october 2002. they had to have the authorization to use military force right before those midterm elections. they had to do that. they used politics all along. tom ridge is an honorable man. i'm glad he's finally telling the truth. >> ron reagan, thanks for coming back. it seems to me this is the line that jumped out at me. you know how careful people are
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when they work in administrations.cheney is comin rumsfeld is coming. here he is saying this. there was something afoot other than simple concern about the country's safety at that table. we're talking about a video conference on the nation's security. something afoot besides security. >> uh-huh, yeah, indeed something afoot. and, you know, tom ridge has actually imfplied as much going back to 2005. now, the media didn't pick up on it so much then because, of course, it was just left wing lunacy i guess, but isn't it funny how left wing lunacy turns into reality after a few years. >> sometimes. >> sometimes. in this instance i think so. so, yeah, yeah, and as everybody has said tom ridge is an honorable man. if some of these people like francis townsend want to come
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out and call him a lure, they're welcome to do that, but if you parse their words carefully they're also hedging a little bit. townsend said it was never mentioned in that context in her presence talking about politics and the terror alert. >> i agree with you. you don't ever say what your motive is. nobody is going to say let's gig this up so we can get our boss re-elected on tuesday. what kind of brain would say that at a meeting? but what struck me this weekend as we're getting into this weekend is the way in which these people are not really denying what ridge said. ridge says there was politics around that table and it was push backed effectively by him. dan bartlett and the others went along with it. they didn't try to push this thing. did you notice it's the flacks coming out and denying it, not the principals. ashcroft's name has been taken in vain. rumsfeld's name has been brought up. he's been accused of playing politics yet he doesn't come forward. ashcroft doesn't come forward.
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when do you leave office and stop having spokespeople? do you continue to have them like an aura? does it just stay around you? there's like an array of spokespeople floating around. >> butlers. >> do you have a spokesperson, joan, that could speak for you or do you want to speak for you. >> i'll send in my spokesperson next week. >> these guys have people that are out there playing their anti-aircraft guns rather than speaking for themselves when their honor is at stake. your thoughts. why they do it that way? >> couple things, i think they're trying no the to dignify tom ridge with the decency of refuting him themselves. he was perceived as not entirely a team player. he was always perceived as a little too liberal for that administration, so i think they're kind of in a way snubbing him by sending their spokespeop spokespeople, their butlers, their man servants out to smack him. and, you know, it's not working. he is a person as governor rendell said, that has a lot of integrity. i don't know -- i wish he'd said something a little bit earlier, but, you know, he expresses such
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regret in the book as well that your heart kind of goes out to him. he knew he was doing the wrong thing and he left. >> walsh, i love it when you don't like somebody. you accuse them of being british. you accuse them of having a butler. your ultimate putdown. you guy with a butler. >> oh, lots of people have butlers. >> i know how you think. ron reagan, your thoughts on this having experience with this. it seems to me you have a fight going on here, but it does remind me of that russell crowe part in the tobacco industry case. where somebody on the inside knows what happens and the other guys on the inside aren't as willing to be as outspoken as he. >> we've had a string of people on the inside of the bush administration coming forth for years and telling us some things. it's not a one day wonder. this is serious business. we're talking about the national security of the national security and the fact that it was being politicized. people were being terrorized, no
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pun intended, by these terror alerts for no good reason other than to put george bush back in the white house. and that -- i don't know if it's strictly speaking illegal or not, but it sure is wrong. >> i would call it -- i would in fact call it terrorism. they were trying to terrorize people in supporting the president literally. it's so wrong. it's so wrong and it shuz not be lost in this kind of he said, she said debate. >> in that incident the weekend before the election in 2004 and the question whether they go from yellow to orange, tom ridge stopped them from doing it. thank you very much joan walsh. again, ron reagan. when we return, what was it like inside the defense department while all this was going on? we'll bring in u.s. congressman joe sestak, a democrat running for the senate in pennsylvania. he'll talk about what it was like to have all those codes flashing in their face with some politics behind it and getting people all gigged up to vote republican. we'll be right back. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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coming up, president obama's summer of discontent. so what's gone wrong with the sowing of health care reform. that's ahead on "hardball" when we come back.
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welcome back to "hardball." we're continuing to discuss the charge made by former homeland security secretary tom ridge. just out in a new book coming out in two weeks, the top bush administration officials including secretary rumsfeld and john ashcroft, the attorney general, tried to politicize the national threat alert on the weekend before the 2004 bush re-election. u.s. congressman joe sestak joins us from philadelphia. you were admiral in the navy working at the pentagon at the time. what do you make of this? this is in the book, by the way. it's not put out by some publicist. it's in the text of the book. tom ridge, former u.s. congressman, former combat veterans of vietnam, all kinds of awards as a warrior, he's real. what do you make of this?
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>> he is real, and this is a disappointment, that the security of the united states can become a political football is unacceptable. on the bigger picture, when you see that we have had an administration that politicized everything from attorney general's elections over to intelligence and the selection of it to go into a war, you begin to understand rapidly why, one, people really do believe even if they don't know tom ridge, why this is probably true, and, second, why so many have lost faith in washington, d.c., and their politicians. where principle is after politics. >> do you have a sense as a military guy and as a political i go now how politics does play in wartime? i mean, this is a general question. i mean, presidents have to win re-election. they have to win wars at the same time. how do they keep them separate? >> it's pretty tough, i'll be
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honest with you. in the military we just like to take orders. but i will say this, that during the rumsfeld regime, and i have respect for a lot of -- a couple of the things that donald rumsfeld said, that there was such a difference in how he actually went about his business that i actually stated that he really stole the ward room. that is, you as a military officer understood there was a belief, and i'm not saying on politics of winning president bush's next election, but there was a line of thought to where mr. rumsfeld wanted to go, and if you differed in your opinion and you were trying to get to the next step up there, he not only, which would sas very unus interviewed two stars and three stars as they wanted to go to the third star rank, which is not uncommon to the fourth star, but not that junior two and three star level, that you knew
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there had begun to be a bit more personal politicalization of the military. that is very unhealthy. so leadership of our civilians never to put politics into a security issue actually was there to a bit when i was in the military. >> was this your ak sick that the bush administration played politics down the line? they were interfering with the war left to play their political games and achieve their own personal agendas? >> my take is the bush administration and its civilian leaders wanted to do things. for example, there was a belief in their mind that we had to have this war with iraq, and in a sense those that might have brokered a difference at least at the very -- near the top, i believe that to some degree the ability to provide that judgment, the environment to provide that judgment was absent. it was a pretty tough crowd that came in the administration of president bush and took over in the defense department, and
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while i have respect for them, i did not agree with the tone of unwillingness to broker differences of opinion that often happened and w. this situation with tom ridge, this is really politics about winning a political campaign and since i have been in politics, and i'm not saying it's only republicans, chris, people believe winning is more important than public service at times. i really think that washington forgets this to a large extent where principles should be triumphing over political calculations. it just doesn't enough. >> congressman, you've probably been in rooms where you have had other people at the table or maybe in the congress where you looked around the table and had a sense that's some people at the table who had a hidden agenda that began to show itself. i think the phrase is you're tanked, you're bought out by an industry or something. i just saw this movie "in the
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loop" about the war in iraq and how the war seemed to get around we're going to war with iraq. it became the line. if you broke from it, you were in trouble but you could never find out where it became the line. i once asked secretary rumsfeld along the lines we're talking, did the president ever ask you if we should go to war with iraq and he said he never asked me. it's not a funny question. they always knew they were in league. there was an unspoken decision somewhere in the brain, the combined brain of the bush administration on all these levels that everything was about politics, everything was about going to war with iraq, and it was all about justifying this administration that we just got rid of basically to go to war and do its thing, and it seems to be hearing the words of tom ridge who wasn't in the loop saying there seem to be something afoot in the meetings about whether to establish a higher alert level that didn't have to do with the country's safety. in other words, he senses around the table there's some political stuff going on, and i just wonder how it works inside the top. you have been pretty close up
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there. >> well, in the pentagon general sheldon was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff used to hand out a book called "dereliction of duty," it was about vietnam. he wanted every officer to understand never again should you not speak your mind because you can serve your nation ill as happened during vietnam. somehow that was lost, i think, to some degree among our more senior leaders when the rumsfeld crowd came in. it was harsh when they came in. they let it be known there was a way, and as i said they actually appointed a former retired officer to interview before mr. rumsfeld did, which had never been done before, two stars about to go to three stars, and my belief is in the military and it's why i was registered independent, if there's anything that should be nonpartisan, it's that, and in this case with tom ridge to actually fool around
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with the highest constitutional duty of the president, security of america, and whether you can truly believe it because how you know they have done other types of politicalization means that washington really does need to change, and i have grave concerns over that. >> thank you. u.s. congressman joe sestak. he's running for the united states senate. up next, some odd ball moments from my appearance on "the colbert report." that's up next on the "sideshow" only on msnbc. i hired him to speak. a lot of fortune 500 companies use him. but-- i'm your only employee. we're gonna start using fedex to ship globally-- that means billions of potential customers. we're gonna be huge. good morning! you know business is a lot like football... i just don't understand... i'm sorry dick butkus. (announcer) we understand. you want to grow internationally. fedex express
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back to "hardball." time for the "sideshow." i went up to new york last night to appear on the colbert report, and to talk about next thursday's "hardball" documentary which is going to be at 7:00 eastern next thursday on
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this channel, the kennedy brothers. i tried pointing out the many accomplishments of this remarkable family. let me just start a couple things people forget, little things ted kennedy did. if you're between 18 and 231 you get to vote because of ted kepdy. he changed -- >> he did that. >> he did that. if you are a woman athlete, my wife played tennis at stanford, if you're a woman athlete, she was on the varsity tennis traem, she had to pay for all the road trips. women athletes were treated like dirt. because of title 9 women have equal treatment. these are little things. >> so we can thank him for much fitter women. >> if you're looking at it that way. >> i always look at it that way. >> why not a documentary about the bushes. they have two presidents, man. >> because i want some ratings. >> that is bold. that is refreshing. >> believe me it's not just about ratings. like many people, not just of my
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generation, i'm depp lie interested in jack, bobby, and ted kennedy. more out of right field talk about health care. yesterday in a radio interview senator demint told us what he's been hearing about his people. >> probably the most heart wrenching experiences i have had over the last several day sincerely when naturalized american citizens who have immigrated here from germany, iran, and other countries, they come up to me and they say why are we doing what so many have fled from? why don't americans see what we're doing, and i have realized these people who have lived under socialist type economies and totalitarianism, they know where we're head fd we don't turn things around. >> recent imfranmigrants from
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germany and iran. is this just a general attack on other countries? time now for tonight's big number. cash for clunkers is that rare go. program that's almost too success. the program will have to end this monday because it's running out of money. how many americans so far have filed claims for that $4,500 perhaps in rebates after trading in their old car for a more fuel fish ept car? well, 457,000, almost half a million cars, half a million americans within a weekend to go. the government gets almost half a million cars off the lot. cars are moving off that lot. that's tonight's "big number." up next, after a nearly flawless presidential campaign, what went wrong with president obama's sales job? you have to call it that. of his health care reform plan. what's going whererong. we have pat buchanan joining us. you're watching "hardball" only on miss. ing
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i'm amanda drury with your cnbc market wrap. stocks surged to new highs on positive comments from the fed. the dow is up about 156 points. the s&p 500 gaining 31 to finish the week back above the 2,000 mark and the nasdaq adding 18. existing home sales surged more than 7% in july, the fastest sales pace in more than two years. and the largest monthly gain on record. and at the fed annual conference in wyoming, chairman ben beren in ki said economic activity appears to be leveling out. he said prospects are good for a return to growth in the near future. and "the wall street journal" says dow jones is putting its index business up for sale. no word yet on the asking price.
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news corp purchased them in 2007 for $2.5 billion. that's it for cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." charles cook, who studies elections and makes predictions sometimes based on history, said the situation for this president has gotten completely out of control. the president and the congressional democrats are in big trouble right now. we've got all kinds of new abc poll numbers coming in we can share with you right now tonight. right now just 46% of the country approves of the president's job, the job he's doing on health care. 50% now disprove. in other words, he's in the trouble area right now. that's a flip from a month ago when 49% approved and 44% didn't. these are marginal shifts but they're definitely going in one direction, down. half the country opposes what president obama and the
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democrats want to do with health care, by the way, as they understand it. that's the caveat. the country is almost evenly split in support for a public health option, in other words having a public plan to compete the private insurance companies. it was once 2 to 1 in favor of such a plan. so what's going on? what happened to the president who was so politically brilliant during the campaign last year didn't make a mistake. pat buchanan is from the right obviously. msnbc's political analyst. and maror willy brown of san francisco, the former speak of the california assembly, he's joining us right now. i want mayor brown to come in here. i haven't heard from you lately. is the president too wonky? does he lack heart in saying what he really believes in or what he really believes in, meaning health care for everybody i assume, won't that sell with the middle class who already have health insurance? what's going on here? what's not working? >> unfortunately, this is a different kind of president. this is a new politician on the block. he really says what he means. he really believes that health care should be done in a manner
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inconsistent with what obviously the nation is ready to succeed, ready to receive. i would guess that barack obama will sell his concept of health care. it's just that he's permitted five different congressional proposals to be oup there. they've created confusion all over the lot. believe me, if you don't start out by saying i am not going to touch your health care, certainly not at the expense of insuring the 43 to 46 million people who do not have insurance, i'm going to expand your health care. i'm going to make it less expensive for you and then i'm going to address the issue of other people's needs. when he does that, barack obama will be back on track. >> are you suggesting that what he has to do is fik the current system now and say next year or sometime in the near future we will get to expanding health care to those who don't have it? are you suggesting a two-part
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plan? >> that is exactly what he is going to have to do and as a matter of fact it's even going to be hazardous under the circumstances to achieve that goal, but it can be achieved. >> pat, do you think that's a fallback position for him to take? in other words fix the situation most people in middle class face. they've got some kind of insurance, but it doesn't cover pre-existing conditions and they do have health problems they worry about. it doesn't cover them if they lose their job. >> portability. >> portability. it deals with those things but it doesn't try to expand coverage to all the millions of people, whether it's 15 million if you count it one way or 46 million if you count it another way, who don't have it now. can he do it two step? >> i think that's the only option he's got because he's not going to get that big program right now. i think take the elements of it that both parties support, majorities of both parties support, enough to get it through, and go ahead and do t the problem is he starts off would you like to have a public option? sure, everybody. would you like to have universal
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coverage? everybody always loves that. when you put this big huge, complex, contradictory thing out there, controversial thing out there, republicans hit it, the blue dogs hit, it everybody hits it, and all of a sudden people become aware of the specifics they don't like. it's been going down ever since, and now etihe's at a point, chr where i think he has got to do just what you're saying because eat n he's not getting that big thing through. one of the problems what is obama's specific health care program? you have steny hoyer and pelosi. we're not giving you anything but the public option. the blue dogs saying you put that in there it's done. >> mr. brown, can the president do what you say he has to do with his democratic party left? will they allow him to move slowly now rather than quickly? in other words, in pieces? >> i do think they will. as a matter of fact, i think
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howard dean is being out there absolutely doing what he's doing helps the president because all of a sudden i think the people who rejected howard dean's leadership before will now understand, these are the people that are recommended certain things and the president is in a different space. he's more conservative. he's more considerate. he's more measured, and keep howard dean doing what he's doing, barack obama's chances go up at being successful. >> i think that's right. he makes barack look moderate. makes barack look like a reasonable foalow who says, look, i want the public option but i'm not going to go over the cliff because there's some things we want. >> do you think it's ironic, perhaps more ironic that the performance of people at these town hall meetings, i don't know mean people arguing politics, i don't think people arguing about policy are ever out of line,
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people brinking guns. chuck grassley said people on the far right who are really, really angry give this president some moving room. he can go back to his left and say look at this country. i can never move the middle in this environment. >> well, i think he can play off the right politically, but i think a terrible mistake has been made. chris, when you get one florida congressm congressman, you get 1,000 people come out three times in one day -- >> i agree. there's two different groups. >> these people are upset, they're concerned. it's too complex for them. >> i don't think people should bring guns to -- >> i don't think anybody should bring an armed rifle to a public meeting, and that's very offensive. that he is no doubt about it. but i'll tell you i think the attacks on the town hall folks have been a horrible mick stays because those are blue dog reporters. >> your thoughts mayor brown. just reemphasize what you think the president ought to do.
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>> i think the president has to make it clear that neither of the five plans floating around in congress in any fashion is barack obama's. he said at the outset, i'm not going to do what hillary clinton did. i'm not going to present you with the whole series wrapped in paper and you're to say yes or no to my proposal. i'm going to let the congress produce and i'll react to that. now it's clear in every's mind if barack obama does what he's capable of doing, holds a speech in which we all pause, all channels and watch him and he lays out the four or five things that are possible right down the middle in america and indicates that this is the first step, barack obama will win that fight. >> he's got to do more than -- you got to do more than that. he's laid out these things in speeches. his problem, chris, is he's going to have to bring them in and tell them, this is what we want, and this is -- you got to stop knocking these guys and you
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got to stop knocking those guys. this is what we want and i want it and get engaged. he's too much up there just, you know, as a teacher, something like that, an instructser. >> pat buchanan have a nice weekend. we have to go. mayor brown, i think everybody heard your thoughts which is two-step. next thursday on this network we're going to have our premiere of our documentary on the kennedy brothers, all the kennedy brothers. that's joseph, jr., jack kennedy, bobby kennedy, ted kennedy. what an extraordinary group of brothers. we will show all of that in our documentary next thursday. let's take a look, a peek at it, and this is a john f. kennedy's first run for congress. >> in 194629-year-old jack ran for congress from massachusetts 11th district. cutting in front of local politicians who had been waiting patiently for the seat to open. the year before he died while beginning to dictate his memoirs, jack confessed having been something of a carpet bagger. >> i was an outsider really. i had never lived very much in
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the district. my family roots were there but i had lived in new york for ten years and on top of that i had gone to harvard. not a particularly popular institution at that time in the 11th congressional district. >> the kennedy tactics from 1946 would be used in succeeding campaigns. one was an astute use of public relations, image building. joe, sr., had been a hollywood mogul and knew how to promote. >> he basically was the one who took hollywood publicity techniques and applied them to politics. >> fortunately, joe, sr., also had a good product to sell, lieutenant kennedy had rescued his crew. when his pt boat was rammed by a japanese destroyer, a story joe, sr., got reprinted in reader's digest and then handed out 100,000 free copies to local voters. to the amaze nt of many old hands, the thin, young, upstart won. if you love politics and love this country, you are going to love this hour on the kennedy brothers. it airs next thursday at 7:00
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eastern right here on the place for politics, msnbc. up next, as the hot fight over health care overshadows some good economic news that just came out. when will president obama start getting some credit for this news? we'll have that back at you if you want to feel a little better over the weekend. that's coming up on "the fix."
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let's talk about that big ridge report. boy, if tom ridge in this new book is going to make some noise over the weekend. the fact he's charging his colleagues in the burke with pl playing politics. back in a minute. than a comparable honda civic. this chevy traverse has better mileage than honda pilot. the all-new chevy equinox has better mileage than honda cr-v. and chevy malibu has better mileage than accord. however, honda does make something that we just can't compete with. it's self-propelled.
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welcome back to "hardball." time for "the politics fix." despite heaps of criticism lately on how he's handling health care reform, it appears president obama has done a few things right. today we got a report of a huge jump few things right. he got a report of huge swrump? home sales, 7 prs, the largest monthly increase in ten years. analysts say the tax breaks for first-time home buyers have a lot to do with that rebound. ben bernanke said the u.s. economy is on the verge of a recovery. we've got the cash for clunkers program which has been extremely popular with the consumers. nearly 500,000 cars sold in just a couple of weeks. jean cummings from "politico" and phil let me go to you.
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nobody thought you could push cars this fast off the lot. home sales in the 250,000 to 325,000 level which has nothing to do with the san francisco market, i assume. the market is up almost to 10,000 now. what's going on? is this all just quick silver? is this not real or what? >> it's all real, chris. but the issue is how is it affecting me, the average citizen. today it was announced in california, unemployment rates at 11.9%. the question is, how many of these programs are affecting me personally, each and every individual, or am i still sitting there thinking am i going to have a job start and b, when are they going to get those sobs on wall street and washington who created this disaster. those are the two questions that need to be addressed for a bigger segment of the population than the people wcashed in clunkers. >> i think tanswer to that
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question is manifest. they're never going to get them. the numbers keep going up. up 150 points today, base on bernanke being somewhat bullish. on the fact that housing are going up. people are spying houses at a certain level, $250,000 level of housing. is this green sprouts but we don't have a real harvest coming? what's going on here? >> i definitely agree with phil that those numbers are great, but the numbers that are still bad, unemployment, home foreclosures and consumer confidence, those are all down and they'll probably not move a whole lot more because the unemployment rate and foreclosures are starting to feed themselves. for most americans i think it looks like a statistical recovery to them, but not real in their own lives. and until they can start to really feel that, i think that's when obama will begin to get some credit and people will begin to have some more
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confidence. a although i will point out in the survey released today, which had a lot of news that wasn't so great for the president, he did hold steady on the impact of the stimulus and the economy. and so there is some notice of it out there, but in a way, i think consumers are not trustful that this is a recovery that's reaching them just yet. and that's probably a good thing. because the unemployment rate isn't going to recover anytime soon. >> we'll be right back and talk more with phil bronstein and jean cummings. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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we're back. phil, i don't know what you make of tom ridge, but he's got his neck stuck out there with this claim in this book that's coming out in a couple of weeks. he basically accuses rumsfeld and ashcroft of playing politics right there on the eve of the 2004 collection. >> we're horrified and shocked, chris, because that's never happened before. i mean, george w. bush is at the center of this in a sense. cheney just called him a wuss not too long ago. and now ridge is saying the administration was alarmist at best and fibbing at worst. i tell you one thing, it was interesting, going back to your earlier conversation about obama
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and message, the bush team in retirement came out with a stronger and more unified message to the ridge book today than obama has come out on health care. >> why do the democrats have a problem with unity? >> i think that's part of the history, right? that's part of the history of democrats. it's debate, it's debate. and message has always been key for republicans. you know, you talk about your kennedy specialist coming up. i think the kennedys really understood message and how to stay on message. >> that's right, they sold the kennedys. jean, your thoughts on that? it seems to me ridge has given a bombshell. i mean, he's given a very good argument to the democrats that politics were afoot in the whole war on terrorism going right into the 2004 election, playing the game right up to the voting itself. >> well, absolutely. this is something the democrats suspected at the time and they'll jump on it. they won't have the bushes to kick around since it won't be
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anytime soon that we will see another one running for president. that's what you hear from the family. jeb bush isn't ready to get into the game. but it is a blow to the legacy of the bush administration. you know, one more of many as these books come out, each one of them reveals something new that is devastating to that white house. >> you know, phil, just to talk about the documentary, i've got to bring it up. we have jack kennedy, we dug up a tape at the kennedy library where jack kennedy is talking about the fact that he was a carpet bagger back in 1946. actually admitting that he never really lived in that district. i find it an interesting message. but you don't get that in the man's lifetime. >> someone should advise him to
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stop talking like that. >> it's going to be in the document. mr. bronstein, i don't mean to disparage the newspaper business. what you make we hope is around a thousand years from now. joining us again monday night for more "hardball" right now it's time for "the ed show" with ed shultz. i'm ed shultz. and this is "the ed show." good evening, americans. live from 30 rock in new york, this is "the ed show" on msnbc. president obama heads to martha's vineyard this weekend. he's got a lot on his mind. he's probably thinking about the numb numbers. people are losing faith in the president on health care reform. we'll go inside the numbers.
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speaker pelosi, i've got something for you on this friday night. she said it again. the house won't back down on a public option. that's my girl. congressman jim moran is in the fox hole with her and he'll join me in just a moment on "the ed show." hey, how about this? cash for clumpgers ends this weekend. the government takeover of the car business is finally coming to an end. now, let's get this thing straight. this is a big success. let's understand that wall street, those guys got $787 billion and the car guys only got $3 billion? and they want to stop the program? why? michigan congressman gary peters has reaction to that tonight. and the former bushies, how about that this? they're saying tom ridge is lying about being pressured to raise the threat level for political gain. now, i want to give you my take and that will come up at the bomb of the hour.

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